John Ransom - Long-Term Unemployment is Key to Puzzle
Posted: 12/4/2014 2:06:00 PM EST

Applications for new unemployment benefits came down a bit to 297,000 for the previous week, says the Labor Department.

But the four-week average remains just a whisker below the 300,000 job per week level. But as the Wall Street Journal noted this week, short-term unemployment is moving down while unemployment of those out of work for more than 27 weeks is still stubbornly high.

Economists are puzzled by the discrepancy.

However some people like myself have suggested that perhaps we aren’t training and educating folks for the jobs available to workers in the modern economy.

We live in a time when graduates with an associates degree pay less for college yet earn more out of school than those with a bachelor’s degree.

John Ransom - Thirty Year Mortgage Continues Plunge
Posted: 12/4/2014 1:06:00 PM EST

Rates for thirty-year mortgages continue to tumble. 

The average rate for the benchmark long mortgage fell to 3.89 percent, the fourth straight week of such declines. 

As I have noted previously, the plunge in interest rates has likely fueled a little more housing activity, which can be a boon for the economy. And despite starting the year with a consensus amongst so-called experts that this was the year we’d finally see rate hikes, interest rates have continued to fall. 

Mortgage rates on the thirty-year are now 50 basis points lower than at the start of the year. 

So now, with no signs of inflation and some concern that the economy may be slowing a bit, it doesn’t look like rates will be heading higher according to the so-called experts until next year. 

The rate of a fifteen-year mortgage now stands at 3.10 percent.

Michael Schaus - In Other News: Chinese Commies Out-Perform Obama Democrats
Posted: 12/4/2014 12:45:00 PM EST

Here are some other highlights and headlines that I noticed over at Ransom Notes Radio:

China is now the world’s economic leader, with America in 2nd place. Under Obama’s stewardship, America is being trounced by a bunch of communists. And China.

(Market Watch)

Protesters in New York were upset over a black musician singing “White Christmas”, because snow is racist (or something).

(Breitbart)

Coke decided to try using some sexy pinup girls in a campaign to sell milk… And, right on schedule, Leftist Feminists freaked out. Maybe next time Coke should use women in Burkas.

(Fox News)

Organizers of a Ferguson Protest at the University of Missouri, requested that only “people of color” take place in the demonstration. This goes to prove that American progressives are still the “Separate but Equal” advocates they have always been.

(The College Fix)

Roughly 100 human brains have been stolen from the University of Texas. (Including one from a guy named “Abby Normal .”) I really hope someone is planning on sending them to DC.

(Breitbart)

Hillary Clinton spoke to a largely empty auditorium at Georgetown University. Although, to be honest, I’m not sure that the occupied seats really did much to raise the collective IQ of the room.

(Daily Caller)

John Ransom - Wage Equality Depends on This
Posted: 12/3/2014 2:01:00 PM EST

More Americans have jobs and those workers are producing more for less, that according to productivity numbers released for the third quarter by the Labor Department. 

Productivity increased at an annual rate of 2.3 percent in the third quarter while labor costs fell at a rate of 1 percent. In part that explains why hiring has been better this year than last. 

When workers can make more products per hour worked that frees up money for businesses to do more hiring to make even more money per hour worked. 

And that ladies and gentleman are how real jobs are created in the private sector.

Productivity surges as the economy falls into recessionary conditions, then flattens out and then surges again as the economy starts to pick up steam. 

So far during this recovery we have had the first two, but not the post-recession surge necessary to fuel much higher employment and economic growth. 

This report is a hopeful sign, but not a definitive one that the economy continues to grow.

John Ransom - ADP Jobs Report Comes with Caveats
Posted: 12/3/2014 1:06:00 PM EST

Payroll processor ADP says that companies hired 208,000 workers last month which is a solid if not spectacular number.

While some economists are trumpeting the number as continued steady improvement in the job market there are important caveats to consider. 

Coming out of a recession job growth should be more robust than this and too much of the workforce is part time. According to numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics about 60 percent of all jobs created from October 2013 to October 2014 have been part time. 

Economists and politicians have complained that despite steady progress in the job market wages have not increased. In part that’s because of the transition to a more part-time work force. It’s hard to get wages up when workers are underemployed. 

ADP also notes however that the fifty percent of all jobs created are coming from employers with less than 50 employees and they say that increased lending by banks to small businesses is partially responsible. 

If true that better news than the jobs number and could signal significant wage progress ahead.

Michael Schaus - In Other News: Boehner’s Plan to Fight Executive Amnesty – Surrender
Posted: 12/3/2014 12:47:00 PM EST

Here are some other highlights and headlines that I noticed over at Ransom Notes Radio:

John Boehner’s idea of fighting Obama’s executive amnesty is, apparently, to negotiate terms of surrender for House Republicans. Is he French?

(National Review)

In an attempt to fund raise during the Holiday season, Democrats are offering an “I Hate Tea Parties” cup for a mere thirty dollars. I guess nothing says “Merry Christmas Happy Holidays” like spreading a little hate.

(Daily Caller)

Well, the midterm elections were almost exactly one month ago… I guess it’s about time Obama hit the trail and raise some cash for 2016.

(Associated Press)

New Black Panther members who had possession of a pipe bomb, and planned on bombing the St Louis Arch and kill a few city officials, will only be charged with minor weapon’s charges by Eric Holder’s Department of Justice… Because Justice obviously means letting radical communist terrorists off the hook for attempted assassinations.

(Free Beacon)

Did you know Obama recently re-wrote more of the Affordable Care Act by implementing regulations that specifically contradict, alter, or expand the written law? But at least our tea isn’t being taxed yet… Because, historically, that’s the breaking point.

(NY Post)

Roughly 15,000 bottles of Jameson whiskey were heisted from a Dublin warehouse earlier this week. That’s a lot of whiskey… And, for the record: I have not been to Ireland this week.

(Fox News)

John Ransom - The Comeback of the Fix and Flip Market
Posted: 12/2/2014 2:06:00 PM EST

It’s back. 

Yahoo finance today investigates an outfit run by Than Merrill, a reality show guy who made his bones doing a show on fix and flip real estate. 

Yahoo says that today he’s doing seminars charging $34,000 to show you--yes you!-- how to make money doing fix and flip real estate. 

As Yahoo notes, Merrill isn’t the only guy out there doing the real estate fix and flip thing since the housing market bottomed out in 2010. Since then a recovery in prices has allowed investors to come back into the market. 

But if you were wondering how long it would take for real estate irrational exuberance to start again after the housing crash, we now have and answer: 6 years. 

How long it will take for the exuberance to come to an end? 

Stay tuned.

John Ransom - Construction Spending Gives Reason for Cheer
Posted: 12/2/2014 1:06:00 PM EST

Construction spending was up 1.1 percent in October the largest increase since May. That gives some analysts reason to think maybe the disappointing retail sales season-- the one that’s only a few days old?-- won’t hurt the economy as much as predicted. 

So why all the construction activity? 

Since May interest rates have steadily continued to decline more than a quarter of a percent-- which as I have talked about before can be very good for the real estate business. 

Unlike existing home sales, new construction is a lynchpin of economic activity creating jobs and purchases at the local and national level. For example the sale of new light duty trucks can be a reflection of robust construction activity as tradesman buy trucks to sustain their business. 

Construction spending for September was revised upward from a loss of .4 percent to a loss of .1 percent.

Michael Schaus - In Other News: Huff Post Accidentally Stumbles Into Agreement with NRA
Posted: 12/2/2014 12:10:00 PM EST

Here are some other highlights and headlines that I noticed over at Ransom Notes Radio:

A guy in a military uniform was called out for being a fake. How do we know he was a fake? Well, if you sweat that much trying to explain why your uniform is wrong, you probably wouldn’t hold up too well under small arms fire.

(Fox News)

So, how are those talks with Iran going? In other news: Iran has some new military hardware, including missiles, warships and torpedoes… So these talks seem to be going really well (for Iran).

(Free Beacon)

A Huffington Post writer was pondering ways to protect black individuals in America, when he suddenly stumbled across a strange idea (for a liberal): encourage law-abiding black people to own guns… HuffPo, this isn’t a new idea. The NRA has been way ahead of you on this one.

(Huffington Post)

This college kid wrote an op-ed about how he “deserved” to get robbed at gun point, because he’s a privileged white male. So if you’ve fallen on hard times, there’s a student at Georgetown University who is apparently an easy target.

(Breitbart)

We officially have more than $18 trillion in National debt. (For those of you studying common-core math, that means debt has increased roughly 70 percent under Obama.) But at least it was all money well-spent… Government websites, IRS corruption, and clandestine gun-running operations don’t come cheap you know.

(Zero Hedge)

Michael Schaus - In Other News: Atheists Shutdown Food Drive Because People Might Thank Jesus
Posted: 12/1/2014 12:00:00 PM EST

Here are some other highlights and headlines that I noticed over at Ransom Notes Radio:

Wait a minute… Flights were delayed on the busiest travel day of the year because of predictably bad winter weather conditions? Too bad no one saw this coming, right? In other news, turkey dinners were surprisingly popular last week.

(Breitbart)

Amazon has deployed 15,000 robots to help it get ready for the Holiday shopping season… It’s just a matter of time until this robot army rises up and enslaves its creators.

(Breitbart)

I’m still not completely clear on how making people late for work helps “honor the memory” of Michael Brown… I guess these protesters are just too lazy to steal a couple boxes of swisher sweets.

(Weasel Zippers)

An atheist group has brought an end to an elementary school’s food drive (to help starving children), because the school was working in conjunction with a church… I actually don’t think that their refusal to believe in God will be their biggest problem when they meet Saint Peter.

(Fox News)

Players from the St. Louis Rams held up their hands before trotting onto the field on Sunday. Apparently they were showing solidarity with Ferguson protesters by doing the so-called “hands up, don’t shoot” gesture. I honestly thought they had just given up on their season.

(Fox News)

People who were forced to short-sell their home may face huge tax bills in April. Isn’t government so helpful to America’s struggling middle class (see: Chuck Schumer)?

(Washington Times)

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